An apparently disabled Petaluma man who had reported his car stolen and then not informed Sonoma County authorities that it had been found was forcibly removed from his vehicle last week, placed in a carotid hold, and accidentally killed.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is revealing details in the case, which is now under administrative review by the Santa Rosa Police Department, after 52-year-old David Glen Ward died on Nov. 27 while in police custody.
The incident happened at 5:54 a.m. last Wednesday, and oddly because he was in his own vehicle, Ward is alleged to have led sheriff's deputies on a chase through part of the county, ending in Sebastopol. When the chase ended, deputies say they commanded Ward to open the door of his vehicle and he did not comply. He was then tased and forcibly removed from the vehicle, and put in the carotid restraint and handcuffed.
As the Press Democrat reports, Ward allegedly did not tell any of the officers that he had recovered his vehicle, a 2003 Honda Civic, and was attempting to drive it home when they tried to pull him over.
At 6:10 a.m., a deputy told dispatch that the suspect appeared not to be breathing, and they were administering CPR. Two Sebastopol police officers were also reportedly involved in the chase, but it's unclear who was involved in restraining Ward.
Ward's family now says that he had a disability that would have prevented him from easily getting out of the car, as KRON 4 reports.
Ward had reported the Honda stolen several days before the Wednesday morning incident, saying he had been carjacked by a suspected armed with a gun in an unincorporated part of western Sonoma County.
Sonoma County sheriff’s Deputy Jason Little was the nearest to respond after Ward's car was spotted early Wednesday, east of Graton, near Guerneville and Frei roads. He caught up to Ward near Bloomfield Road and Murray Road, and the car initially pulled over, but then took off and prompted the seven-minute chase which reached speeds of 70 miles per hour.
Ward was ultimately boxed in by the Sebastopol officers and the deputy and pulled out of his car at Sutton Road. In addition to tasing him, officers reportedly used hand weapons on Ward to subdue him, and they report that he was "a little incoherent" when they stopped him.
Ward's half sister says that in addition to physical ailments from a car accident 20 years ago, he was "in poor health" and had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a heart condition.
He later died at Petaluma Valley Hospital, with a time of death of 7:17 a.m.
Anyone with information about Ward's reported carjacking or the subsequent chase is asked to call the Violent Crimes Investigations Team at (707) 543-3590.